Much of yesterdays political news centred round a new report by a panel of experts commissioned by the Scottish government to look at welfare in an independent Scotland. The long and short of it was that their main preference was for a transitional period of four years Scotland should continue initially sharing the administrative functions of the system, but not the policy, with the rUK.
Their reasons for this conclusion was that it would be preferable, not just for Scotland but also the rUK, to gradually smooth out the transference so that those in receipt of benefits and pension in both were not adversely effected in the process. Scotland for instance not only currently administers pensions for the whole of Scotland, but also for 20% of England. So it makes perfect sense to approach the transition in this way, rather than forcing through an immediate separation from the system and leaving those dependent of benefits and pensions possibly facing a sudden and very real danger of gremlins in the new systems leaving them helpless.
There were suggestions that certain things within this arrangement that would be different, such as the bedroom tax being ditched in Scotland, but mostly they would be pretty similar to what we have at present.
Other changes would be more gradual until a new Scottish system was in place. Change is best managed gradually not suddenly. Hence the 4 year estimate.
This of course was pounced on disingenuously by the Better Together campaign who immediately spread the word that Scotland was holding onto the same system as we have within the UK presently, so yet another example of Scotland not really wanting change at all, so no need for independence, and we are better off as we are. Deliberately missing the point that Independence is a process which has to be managed, not an immediate drastic severing of all ties.
This is all really a circular argument that UKOK maintains at all times for a variety of proposals.
Sharing Sterling, The Queen, and now the sharing of administration of the welfare system for a period of time.
Their circular argument is a false one, and they well know it. However the purpose of the argument is to cast doubt and uncertainty. Under no circumstance will they actually engage in talks with the Scottish government, what they do instead is to say that everything is uncertain. Uncertainty is one of their favourite buzz words which they use all the time, as uncertainty causes us to feel discomfort and even fear.
They will ask questions which they know fine well there is no current answer to, because these questions cannot be properly answered until there is negotiations at the point of a vote for independence, and given that they wont engage at present, there can be no certainty. So if anything if there is uncertainty it is because they themselves are the ones creating it!
With regards to the Queen, Sterling, Welfare system there are no real problems at all. The Queen is the Queen Elizabeth the second of England, but Queen Elizabeth the first of Scotland..She holds two crowns not one.
With Sterling, It is Scotlands currency as much as it is the rUKs, and Scotland does not need their permission to use, should we want to, they can’t stop us!
The same applies for all shared assets of the current UK, and Scotland is entitled to approximately 10% of all of them. Conversely we are also liable to the same level of the UKs debts, which is mounting hugely by the minute, So it is best to get out now before they pile on much more debt! It’s a bit like trying to live with a compulsive gambler who is likely to bankrupt the house from under us, and take us down with them.
Going back to the welfare debate, one of the first things both Alistair darling and the BBC, Gordon Brewer in particular on Newsnight Scotland was trying to get across was a scare story for our current pensioners. How would Scotland manage to cope with running a welfare system when we had a rapidly ageing population.
What neither Darling or the BBC or their experts were saying was that the UK has a far faster and growing ageing population than Scotland, hence the UK cannot cope with the bill and the pension age is gradually rising in stages to 70 in the next few years.
The question is not whether Scotland can afford its ageing people in a comparatively small population of 5.5 million, It is fact that the UK cannot currently afford its far greater ageing population in a population of 60 million.
Really, if you apply the questions they are asking of Scotland before negotiations and cannot be fully answered yet…..Ask these same questions of the current UK, and see how they cope!
And if you really want to know about borders, currency sharing, and other similar matters, just look at the most recent close example, on how the arrangements for independence were made and gradually implemented with the Republic of Ireland.. They shared the pound for years, you don’t have custom posts between the UK and Ireland, there are still reciprocal arrangements in the common interest in place, and in UK statute Ireland IS Not viewed as a foreign country.
Bear all that in mind for the next scare story you hear… you will hear very many more yet!